“Sunday morning my head is awful, but it’s worthwhile for the time that I ‘d. But I got to get my rest … ‘Cause Monday’s a mess,” croons R&B legend Fats Domino in his 1957 tune “Blue Monday,” a song about the dreary doldrums of the work week.
As well as the singer could have been on to something: According to British psychologist Cliff Arnall, Monday is the bleakest day of the week. However, what occurs when you take a Monday smack-dab in the middle of winter, following christmas? You may have just stumbled upon the most depressing day of the year.
Arnall has dubbed the third Monday in January “Blue Monday,” based on his theory that variables such as the elements, post-holiday debt, and low motivational levels make it the gloomiest date on the calendar. But if you can make it past Blue Monday (which falls on January 16 this year) in one piece, you might want to beware of those other potentially gloomy periods that pop up through the entire year.
The Wearisome Winter Months
Blue Monday is only one day in a long, dark, and dreary season. Estimates vary, but some specialists say that about 20 percent of Americans fall victim to winter blues.
Much more serious is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a sort of depression that affects less than 5 percent of the U.S. inhabitants, generally during December, January, February, and March. This state is thought to result from reduced exposure to sunlight during the winter months (which describes why it is 10 times more common in Alaska than in bright Florida).
“SAD is a critical issue for many people, but any form of depression might be made worse by short days, dreary weather, or nerve-racking holidays,” says Robert Rowney, DO, a psychiatrist and mood disorder pro and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research at Lutheran Hospital. “The huge difference between SAD and major depression is the fact that SAD begins in the fall or winter and ends in the spring. Major depression may get worse in the wintertime, but it does not finish in the spring.”
Along with social withdrawal, stress, and depression, symptoms of SAD may incorporate a heightened dependence on sleep, weight gain, a deficiency of energy, and cravings for sweets.
Lonely Valentine’s Day
If there’s one day of the year when many people feel blue, it’s Valentine’s Day — when roses and chocolates stream freely … if you are in love. In reality, a current study of more than 2,000 adults — orchestrated by the on-line relationship website TRUEBeginnings — found high levels of psychological distress in singles on Valentine’s Day (and the weeks following). Another substantial survey from Meet Market Adventures found that more than 70 percent of unattached folks stay home and wallow on Feb. 14.
To fight back, self love proponent Christine Arylo, writer of Picking ME Before WE: Every Woman’s Guide to Life and Love, has began a Feb. ” to encourage women to feel terrific about themselves, man or no guy.
Frustrating Tax Day
Mark your calendars for mid-April: In a recent survey of more than 350,000 people from the polling bureau Gallup, “tax day” topped the list as one of the most trying days of the year. Actually, the sole other nerve wracking event in 2011 that was deemed more nerve-racking than tax day was April 27 — when the outbreak of twisters devastated the southeastern United States, killing more than 300 individuals.
According to Gallup, about 15 percent of Americans experience extreme anxiety on this dreaded day on which taxes are due.
Serious Summer SADness
When it’s warm gloomy? For a small crowd, seasonal affective disorder may actually happen during the dog days of summer.
Summer SAD (or reverse seasonal affective disorder) accounts for only about one-tenth of SAD instances, in line with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and it could be related to heat and humidity — some folks get better if they see a cooler climate. Symptoms include feelings of nervousness depression, decreased appetite, and sleeplessness.
Dreary Daylight Savings Time
For individuals who experience season-induced depression, the state is closely linked to the ticking of the biological internal clock (also known as the circadian rhythm). Whatever alters that clock may throw it away enough to cause feelings of depression.
And even though you could possibly be excited about that extra hour of sleep daylight savings time may throw your emotions. “Daylight savings time could be a trigger for depression for the reason that it alters the sleeping and waking up routine and the hours of daylight exposure,” says Dr. Rowney.
The Humdrum Vacations (Bah Humbug!)
The most wonderful time of the year? For many, the holidays and post-holidays can be the most depressing. Chalk it up to financial anxiety from holiday gifting and traveling, overindulgence in food (and, notably, booze), reduced amount of exercise, and resurfacing of old family stresses, says Rowney.
And once the holiday decorations are packed away, you could feel a huge letdown — and not just because Santa didn’t deliver on your list. “Holiday and post-vacation depression may be linked to changes in your routine and pressure,” he clarifies.
However, it’s not merely the end-of-the-year holidays which make individuals blue: Just about any event that is broadly observed can make some feel gloomy, he says. Mother’s Day, as an example, may be a difficult day for women who have lost their mum or are fighting to become one. And Thanksgiving, so wrapped in the theory of family togetherness, might be a depressing time of the year for those who find themselves alone or fighting family problems.
How to Keep Your Chin Up During the Darkest Days of the Year
The best means to prevent falling into a funk? Prepare yourself.
Rowney suggests getting out and soaking up the maximum amount of morning sunshine as possible to prevent SAD or the winter blues. To get around the holiday doldrums — no matter what holiday most changes you — have practical expectations and try to invest the day (or days) with encouraging friends and family members. Make an effort to keep your normal schedule as much as you possibly can. Get lots of exercise and sleep, and go easy on the eggnog.
“For those who have depression at any moment that lasts for over a couple weeks and significantly interferes with your capability to live your life, you need to ask for assistance,” warns Rowney. You do not have to endure through blue Mondays, Tuesdays — or any other days of the week for the matter.